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Climate Change Affecting Bees

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Is climate change a cause of reduction in pollinating bee numbers?

Introduction

There are approximately 25,000 different bee species around the globe (Simberloff & Rejmanek, 2011). Only 4 of these species are honeybees, and 250 species are bumblebees (IUCN, 2013) with up to 90% of the remaining species classified as solitary bees (Kindersley, 2016). Honeybees make honey, its their primary food, feeding up to 10,000 strong colonies (Benjamin, 2015). Bumblebees don’t make honey but they are important pollinators,their hairier coats can attract more pollen and they can fly at colder temperatures than honeybees most bumblebees are wild (Benjamin,2015),and are not often used commercially unlike honey bees.
Pollination occurs when bees feeding
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(2007) upwards of 75% of the leading crops grown worldwide are dependent on or benefit from animal pollination, where as wind and self pollination is responsible of only 24% of pollination. Klatt et al. (2014) studied the affects of bee pollination and strawberry fruit yield the study showed that bee pollination not only improved fruit quality and quantity but also market value compared with wind and self pollination. The fruits pollinated by bees were heavier, had less malformations and reached are high commercial standard. The colour and texture was more vibrant and firmer with sugar to acid ratios reduced enabling a long shelf life to be obtained and over all fruit loss to be reduced by 11% (Klatt et al., 2014) These results showed that pollination by bees increased the commercial value per fruit by 38.6% compared with wind pollination and by 54.3% compared to self…show more content…
(2014) showed pollination by bees could have an even greater economical value than previously thought due to the study not only considering value to the yield but the quality of the final fruits with regards to trade classes and shelf life the latter being the major factor determining the commercial value of pollination. It is estimated that between one third and a half of all fruits and vegetables are lost due to damage and deterioration during the packing, transporting and storage after harvesting, or wasted at retailer and consumer level.

A further study by Rader. et al. (2013) of pollination and its effects on watermelon crops, further supports the findings of Klatt et al. (2014). They used various climate change scenarios to predict how pollination services would be affected and using the most extreme IPCC scenario the results showed that pollination services by managed honey bees an expected decline of 14.5% would occur although pollination services by mostly native wild taxa would according to their predictions increase by 4.5% by 2099.
This further demonstrates the important of native biodiversity in managing the impacts of climate change, as crop pollination services would be greatly impacted and decline at a more rapid rate without native, wild pollinators. Their findings provided an important example of how biodiversity can stabilise ecosystem services against climatic and environmental
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